The Nightmare Fair
Audio / June 9, 2017

Released November 2009 Following Colin Baker’s first full season as the sixth incarnation of the titular Time Lord, production began as usual on the franchise’s twenty-third season with writers commissioned and certain staffing assignments made. However, with the BBC’s forced eighteen-month hiatus of Doctor Who coming down at the same time, these initial stories were abandoned at varying states of written completion, more or less forgotten as a quirk of history when The Trial of a Time Lord arc superseded these plans upon its return. While Graham Williams’s ‘The Nightmare Fair’ did at least see the light of day as a novelization, Big Finish begins its The Lost Stories range with a full-cast adaptation of that same story to begin to fill in that murky gap in continuity. With the TARDIS drawn to 1985 Blackpool as the Doctor intends to investigate a mysterious space/time vortex while also enjoying some of the local amusements, rumours of a mysteriously appearing Chinese man and of robotic miners coming to life quickly sets the stage for another confrontation between the Doctor and his impossibly-old foe, The Celestial Toymaker. Assisted through the centuries by those whom he has defeated in games and sentenced to servitude…

The Celestial Toymaker
Episode / September 11, 2016

Aired 2 April – 23 April 1966 Picking up with the cliffhanger from ‘The Ark’ in which the Doctor becomes invisible, the TARDIS soon lands in the domain of the ancient and eternal Celestial Toymaker, a being with a penchant for games with the highest of stakes. With Steven and Dodo almost immediately cut off from the TARDIS and the Doctor, they are tasked with solving and winning a series of challenges before the disembodied Doctor finishes the Trilogic Game set before him. In so doing, ‘The Celestial Toymaker’ represents Doctor Who’s first trip into more surreal territory, putting a nefarious spin on childhood pastimes along the way. Of course, the invisible and sometimes mute nature of the Doctor allows a script-based reason for William Hartnell to again take a scheduled holiday. Apparently, producer John Wiles had several problems with William Hartnell behind the scenes and wanted to take the programme in a more adult direction, intending to replace him with someone else when the Doctor rematerialized at the end of the story. This, of course, does not happen, but it perhaps sowed the seeds for the renewal/regeneration that would occur later to usher in Patrick Troughton. Regardless of the…

The Magic Mousetrap
Audio / August 5, 2016

Released April 2009 Matthew Sweet returns to the Big Finish main range for the first time since his quirky but brilliant ‘Year of the Pig.’ Managing to avoid many typical pitfalls of returning authors, Sweet somehow surpasses everything he achieved with his previous release, offering one of the absolute best releases in the ever-growing audio library. ‘The Magic Mousetrap’ is unafraid to challenge its audience, presenting a script that requires concentration while still managing to explain the unexpected events in a natural and unobtrusive manner. While the Doctor suffering from amnesia is certainly nothing new even within the confines of Big Finish itself, here the plot device is used incredibly effectively to help set up the intrigue, allowing listeners to discover events along with the Seventh Doctor rather than playing catch up with the companions as is so frequently the case. His lack of memory prior to his waking up on a cable car heading for Swiss sanatorium in 1926 only serves to highlight the strange and off-kilter events surrounding him. Wisely, the script sticks primarily to the present, allowing the past to slowly be pieced together as events unfold. Intriguingly, Ludovic Comfort delivers electro-shock therapy treatments to his patients…